The effects of expired unemployment benefits trickle down to the most vulnerable

 Next Step clients work on prepping resumes in a workshop.

 Next Step clients work on prepping resumes in a workshop.

Lawmakers did not include an extension of long-term unemployment benefits in the recent budget passed before breaking for the holidays, causing 1.3 million Americans, including more than 127,000 New Yorkers to be cut off. But the effects of this inaction trickle down to those who are most vulnerable.

Last week Labor Secretary Tom Perez told reporters that many of the unemployed who lost their benefits have gone from a "position of hardship" to one that is a "catastrophe."

"They have been looking day in and day out for work," Perez said. "They are trying to feed their families. They are trying to stave off foreclosure. They are making judgments between food and medicine -judgments that no person in America or anywhere should have to make."

The 700 clients served annually by Project Renewal's Next Step Employment Program arrive in need of a full spectrum of employment assistance -- including education and skills training, job placement, and retention support in the comprehensive "one stop shop" setting we provide.

Many Next Step clients have lived for years in a state of crisis similar to the current situation described by Secretary Perez. They face additional hardships to attaining jobs and a steady income stream as many struggle with poor health caused by mental illness or addictions, and according to Project Renewal Deputy Director Stephanie Cowles the recent cut in unemployment benefits will only worsen their situation.

The recent loss of unemployment benefits will clearly affect our work at Next Step.  Although very few Next Step clients receive unemployment benefits,  we anticipate a large number of people whose unemployment benefits were discontinued will flood the job market  causing strong competition for low level jobs and negatively impacting Next Step clients chances for obtaining these jobs. 


Further into the Fray: Renewing New York City in 2013

According to the Annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Street Survey conducted by the Department of Homeless Services in January 2012, there were 3,262 unsheltered homeless individuals—a 23% increase from last year, and this is in addition to the 9,500 men and women in shelters on any given night.

So we will do more in 2013

  • Meet the increased demand for shelter by developing a new shelter for 108 mentally-ill men in the Bronx: renovation is underway and scheduled to open in 2013.
  • Meet the need for job training for homeless veterans by opening a satellite Culinary Arts Training Program to help 64 veterans annually learn cooking and work skills in a 6-month classroom and internship program.
  • Meet the needs of homeless veterans for jobs by adding more outreach and placement services. Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) provides intensive, one-on-one case management to address the complex problems facing homeless veterans.
  • Meet the need for supportive housing by developing a new residence for 56 homeless men and women struggling with substance abuse or mental illness. Studio apartments will add housing options for men and women now in shelters.
  • And continue innovating within the over 30 programs that help to end homelessness for 13,000 New Yorkers each year.

DONATE NOW to help ensure these veterans get the help they need in 2013!

News: New Grant to Get Vets Jobs Awarded to Project Renewal

Richard McFarthing

Senator Schumer’s office called to congratulate us on our award of $100,064 to provide employment services to homeless veterans! We were one of 2 new grantees in New York City selected in this national competition.

Did you know 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and 45% of veterans need help getting a job?

The press release stated:

These recipients are familiar with the geographic areas and populations to be served, and have demonstrated that they can provide effective help to homeless veterans

Funding will expand the reach of our Next Step Employment Program to homeless veterans: we will offer vocational counseling, job training, and job placement services to help vets get back to work! 

Click here to view to press release.

Photo courtesy of EsotericSapience via Flickr

More than 1/3 of homeless men are _________...

Vets Photo


While homelessness among the general population is a serious issue, high incidences of homelessness among the men and woman who served our country are especially disturbing.  On a given night in 2011, 67,495 veterans experienced homelessness in the U.S.   New York City alone documented 4,677 homeless veterans on a single night in 2011 – nearly 7% of the national total.

In an effort to better serve the men and women who served our country, members of the Project Renewal staff conducted a focus group with three clients who are also veterans.   Indio Casaine, Darrell Bristow and Mike Woods (pictured above) shared their personal stories with PRI staff, helping us to learn more about the unique needs of veterans and how to best help homeless veterans attain health, homes and jobs. 

NPR: A Push To Help U.S. Veterans Fight Homelessness

As we seek to develop new ways to help homeless veterans in the coming year it all comes back to finding processes that work. We also have to agree that business-as-usual doesn’t work:

When somebody is sleeping outside, they may be using the emergency room for their health care,” Marge says. “They may be cycling in and out of prisons, and that’s very costly.

Check out this great NPR piece on the situation of homeless veterans in America